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Post-Tawang, DGCA to conduct safety audit at heliports news
26 April 2011

New Delhi: In the wake of the helicopter crash at the remote north-east location of Tawang Indian civil aviation regulator, the DGCA has said it will conduct an audit of safety measures at heliports. The crash claimed 17 lives.

"We are thinking of conducting an audit of readiness of safety measures at heliports, basically those situated in remote areas...In Tawang, the first fire-tender reached the spot after quite a long time," director general of civil aviation EK Bharat Bhushan told reporters here on Friday on the side-lines of a function of Pawan Hans Helicopters Limited (PHHL).

The first fire-tender reached the spot after 45 minutes, which, officials feel led to heightened casualties.

Bhushan said the voice data recorder of the ill-fated chopper has been recovered and sent to Mumbai for decoding.

Bhushan also rejected claims made by the Arunachal Pradesh government that PHHL was responsible for the crash as the helicopters was not airworthy and not maintained as per DGCA guidelines.

Bhushan said, "The 14-year-old helicopter that crashed in Tawang had the 'Certificate of Airworthiness' valid till this year-end. There was nothing wrong with the helicopter."

Alleging negligence, the state government had written to the union ministry of civil aviation demanding an inquiry on maintenance related issues.

Meanwhile, senior PHHL officials said all their helicopters were fully airworthy and fully certified by the regulatory authority, the DGCA. They also said all their pilots were well experienced and qualified.

PHHL operates five helicopters in remote locations across Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura and runs the daily Guwahati- Tawang services for the past nine years.

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Post-Tawang, DGCA to conduct safety audit at heliports